Protection. Adventure. Love.
It’s all found within The Arms of the Law…
Book 2: In the Arms of the Law
(also includes bonus short story, 2.5)
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, Paranormal (Seer), Erotic, Romance
Word Count: 58,000
Cover Artist: Silver Phoenix Labs
Ebook Collection – 4 Stories in one edition:
Collection is also available in print, links below
Detective Alicia Knowles once believed good existed in everyone. But a traumatic experience changed her entire world. Now dangerous and cynical, she moves through the darkness of her once sunny world, unsure how to handle her pent up feelings of fear and anger.
Even her new boss, Cole Douglass, spins her out of control. One night, years ago, he made her feel things she’d never felt with any other man. Business comes first, however, a child is missing and a murderer is on the run.
But old flames never die out as Alicia quickly discovers when temperatures and passion flare. On the trail of a killer, she is forced to deal with her past as she tries to make decisions about her future.
Excerpt © Kacey Hammell, 2017
Sweat coated her skin as heat and fire rolled through her body at a massive rate. Her arms felt like lead, and she sure as hell didn’t want to keep moving, but needed to. She could barely move her legs side to side to keep her hips moving in time with her arms. She felt the anger and adrenaline from the night she’d had and wanted nothing more than to go home and sleep.
But to sleep was to relive the memories. The cold, the fear, the helplessness.
Even with strike after strike against the punching bag in the basement of the precinct, Alicia still wanted to run and forget. To find Monica Fuller dead in a similar manner to how she’d been tied that night, months ago, made her feel like she’d once again lost control of her life. She fought the memories regularly and barely lived day to day. To keep doing so was more tiring than she could ever have imagined.
She and Ethan had been on the trail of Roy Fuller for days. They’d secured proof he was the drug dealer selling to the kids outside the Bergen County Kids’ Center. They’d had an ironclad case. The evidence was stacked against him and the undercover officer he’d sold to was poised to put the final nail in his coffin. All they’d had to do was pick the scumbag up. They followed the leads and heard Roy was prowling around the home of his estranged wife. They never imagined they would find her dead, her body barely cold.
How a simple, open-and-closed drug case could lead to murder and a missing child, Alicia didn’t know. Though they’d searched for Roger Fuller, the couple’s ten-year-old son, for hours, it had been futile and a great disappointment. Her heart bled for what the boy must be feeling. If he was still alive….
They concluded he must have seen his father kill his mother. The neighbor who’d been living beside Monica and Roger for over a year said Monica’s routine was the same every day: working from home, errands on odd days, and always picking her son up after school. The neighbor was sure Roger had been home.
They’d ruled out the probability of Roy taking Roger, since a foot chase had ensued with no sign of the child. Roy had managed to elude the cops for a couple of hours. Where he’d holed up was yet to be determined.
Search parties were still on scene. She and Ethan had come back to the station to make contact with their sources, discover if anyone had seen Roy at any of his usual haunts. Those avenues had turned up zip.
After over two dozen calls, Alicia needed a break. Frustration ate away at her soul. Helpless in her attempts to locate young Roger Fuller, she needed to find refuge in something else. She could only hope wherever he was, he was warm and safe and might contact her or Ethan. After leaving both their cards on the table at the apartment and with the neighbor, all she could do was pray he’d get in touch with one of them.
Drawing in a deep breath, she dropped her arms and hung her head. Heart saddened by the shattered innocence of a young boy, she tried to dispel the image of the scene she’d walked into. Those who had saved her had seen more than she wished them to when they found her in the abandoned warehouse. The memories were nearly her undoing.
She’d lost it for a few moments last night, but she couldn’t leave Monica lying there for strangers to see. Alicia remembered the embarrassment and fright she’d had the night of her attack, even though her cousin Isabella had found her before any of the others. Izzy had cared enough to wrap her in a man’s jacket before the troops dropped in and could see her…so exposed.
She could only pay the same respect to Fuller’s victim. If things had ended differently for her weeks ago, she would have wanted the cover and to be put somewhere safe and warm.
Sighing deep, guilt threaded through her, and swamped her in shame.
Experience had taught her to never move a victim or contaminate a crime scene. Years of training had made her one of Trenton’s good detectives. But today, all common sense had fled. In her mind, she’d wanted to maybe change the outcome of what had happened to her. No matter how foolhardy and stupid her actions, she’d done the unthinkable and completely crossed the line.
Lifting her arm, she wiped the sweat from her brow and glared at the red punching bag. If Roy Fuller stood in front of her, she’d beat the shit out of him.
To take days of endless frustration, fear, and loss of sleep out on someone like him would be satisfying,
Unfortunately, the bag would have to do. For now.
Alicia jerked at the sound of his voice.
I really don’t need this now.
The voice, like the man, was strong and proud. Nothing ever seemed to get close to Cole Douglass. He was her boss and someone she wanted to loathe instead of remembering the feel of his hands on her, his breathlessness in her ear as he sheathed himself in her over and over again.
She dropped her arms to her sides, kept her back to him, and walked to the bench a few feet away. Picking up a red towel, she wiped her forehead and neck before turning to face him.
“What brings you down here, Captain?” The last word dripped sarcasm and disrespect. She resented his presence, and that he’d taken over her father’s job.
She had to wonder if he was tired of sitting behind her dad’s desk by now.
She’d done her best to stay away from him, to not show how much she disliked his occupying her father’s office, but today she was ready to dispel some of her anger and frustration at this man.
To take it all out on him would make her feel better and gave her something to do with all the emotions bubbling inside her. It seemed justified, since he was the only man who’d ever made her feel. Her pulse raced, her palms sweated, and her body shook inside whenever she was with Cole. She’d had lovers in the past, men she’d cared for, but he was different. All other men paled in comparison.
Alicia knew she’d hit the mark as the darkness of his brown eyes smoldered with anger. She never got a rise out of him, but she savored how much he could feel, and she could hit him where it hurt. She relished the fact she could see it, there in the depths of his eyes, every time she wounded him.
“I’ve been looking for you.” Cole advanced farther into the room. She glanced down at his hands. His fists clenched and unclenched at his sides.
The man is pissed.
Before she could register the fact she was seeing a definitive anger, which seemed to be blistering off his skin, he stood toe-to-toe with her. She didn’t have a chance to back up or prepare herself.
“Did you really think I wouldn’t find out about what happened tonight, Detective? Though she tried, your cousin can’t keep everything quiet, now can she?”
Alicia felt the air leave her lungs as reality sunk in. Dammit, someone had squealed and she expected a reprimand was coming.
Bring it on. I’m ready for anything you can dish out.
“What’s your problem, Captain? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She started to turn around to grab her water bottle, hoped to purge her suddenly dry mouth, but his hand on her elbow stopped her mid-turn.
Surprised he would touch her, Alicia’s gave him a wide-eyed stare, sure he’d lost his freaking mind. “Get your hands off me. I didn’t give you permission to touch me.” Pulling her arm away, she placed her hands on her hips and reveled in the adrenaline burst rushing through her body.
“Don’t mess with me right now, Detective. You know exactly what I’m talking about. You and your partner tried to move a homicide victim before the M.E. got there. You know that is against standard operating procedure.”
Cole’s face was turning a shade of red that Alicia had never seen on him before. He was one of the sexiest men she’d ever known, but seeing his ire raised clouded her judgment and threw her off-track.
“The woman was almost fully exposed. We couldn’t just leave her there for everyone to gawk at. It’s cruel, disgusting, and I wouldn’t have it.”
“You? You wouldn’t have it? Who gave you permission to make your own rules? You’ve been on this job long enough to know the god damn protocol!” Cole turned away from her and placed his hands on his hips.
“Look, I thought—”
In the blink of an eye, Cole whipped around to face her once more. “That’s the point! Alicia—Detective, you didn’t think. Not at all. I won’t have this in my house. You follow the rules, as they’ve been followed for decades, and follow them to the letter.”
“Your house? Let me tell you something….” She didn’t want to entertain the thought of being close to Cole, with the effect he had on her, but she’d be damned if she’d let him lay claim to what would never be his. “This is not and never will be your house. If my father hadn’t retired, you’d still be parked behind a bullpen desk with your thumb up your ass. You have no idea what you walked into when you took this job.”
Toe-to-toe, chest-to-chest, his breath on her face, she watched the fire in his eyes seethe even more. If she wasn’t careful, she’d burst into flames. “You’ll never claim this place, or the job you have, as your own. Remember that.”
“Are you finished?”
She caught the quiet, controlled rage in his voice, and flinched, but didn’t back down.
“You will leave your badge and sidearm on my desk. You are on suspension until you have seen the department shrink. Until I have a satisfactory—no, better than satisfactory—a fucking perfect status from her about you, you are off the job.”
Shocked, Alicia’s mouth dropped open. She couldn’t believe the words he’d just uttered. Suspended?
“Have you lost your mind? Why would you do this?” she asked.
“Why do you think?” Cole raised his left hand and ticked the reasons off with his right, one by one. “You disobeyed protocol. You haven’t been yourself at all since you came back from those few days you called a leave after what happened to you. I’ve watched you slide downhill since I got here and I don’t like what I see. You’re dangerous. To yourself and others. And because of that reason, your right to carry a firearm off-duty is revoked. I won’t let you put anyone else at risk.”
Her heart shattered. The pain, the guilt she’d already felt, was justified. To know someone else felt that way, too, was almost more than she could bear.
“You blame me for Monica Fuller’s death? We got the lead her husband was home with his wife, though they were separated. We got there as fast as we could. We were after a drug dealer. How could we know what the hell he’d do! You blame me for her death? Is that why I’m being punished?”
She turned her back on him. She didn’t want to see his face when he admitted she was to blame.
“What the…? Alicia. Dammit.” His hand on her shoulder, she turned to face him with her head down. “Fuck. Look at me, Ali. Look at me.”
She lifted her chin, gazed into his deep, brown eyes and wished she could dive into the safety and concern she saw there.
“This isn’t about that, Ali. No one could have known. And I know you understand that. Do you blame yourself for the victim’s death?”
The softness in his voice was nearly her downfall. Just a moment was all it would take for her to lean into him.
Alicia stiffened her spine, turned back to the bench and the duffel bag on top of it. “It doesn’t matter. What’s done is done. I’ve never been suspended in my career. I can’t believe you’re doing it now.” She stared at the far wall and wondered what her father would say when he learned of this.
With a sigh, she put her towel and water bottle on the bench beside her duffel bag, and then took out her badge and sidearm. Too tired to fight, too tired to care anymore, she’d give Cole what he wanted.
Off the job.